EFN welcomes the public release of the VEAC’s investigation of River Red Gum Forests final report, following what could only be described as an intense 3 years of data collection, community input, review and assessment.
The Victorian Government now has a report that clearly defines the threats faced by these unique forest ecosystems and recommended actions required to best preserve these assets and at the same time ensure continued community access.
EFN applauds the phasing out of two major threats to conservation values of the forest; stock grazing and the restriction of timber extraction.
The distinction drawn between recreational community access and the use of these public lands for commercial use by small select groups has been clearly identified. The recommendations relating to tourism and recreational use, balance forest protection with continued community access. Community appreciation and support of these River Red Gum environments has been highlighted in the report and will grow with continued access.
The Victorian Government now has the opportunity develop a long term strategy that will protect these forests and ecosystems into the future taking into account not only this report but also outcomes from the Land and Biodiversity White Paper, the States biodiversity strategy development and the upcoming Climate Change Green Paper.
Long term holistic science based strategy and action is required for the protection of Victoria’s little remaining native vegetation and fauna; the VEAC recommendations are an important part of this overall strategy.
We look forward to the Victorian Government’s response to this report.
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